NEW YORK -- Spoilers? That was the opportunity the Red Sox were presented with, thanks to a schedule that left them with their last six games against the two teams that are fighting for the American League East title.
There has been no spoiling for these Red Sox, who are staggering toward the finish line of a highly-frustrating season.
An already short-handed Boston team went to battle on Monday without Jacoby Ellsbury and Dustin Pedroia and suffered a 10-2 loss to the Yankees.
"You know, you just play the cards that you have," said manager Bobby Valentine. "That's what we have right now."
The Yankees scored nine of their 10 runs during a second-inning barrage, most of which came against Clay Buchholz, who had his worst start of the season in his final outing.
"It's tough whenever you leave pitches out of the middle of the plate and every one of them gets hit," said Buchholz. "That's what this team is known for. They hit mistakes. They did that tonight."
The righty gave up six hits and eight runs over 1 2/3 innings, walking two and striking out two. Buchholz finished the season 11-8 with a 4.56 ERA.
"From the side, it just looked like balls were coming back to the middle a little," said Valentine. "He's given us a heck of a season. He's pitched his heart out. Sorry it had to end like that."
With the win, the Yankees regained sole possession of first place in the AL East thanks to the Orioles' loss to the Rays.
Meanwhile, this was the 10th loss in the last 11 games for the 69-91 Red Sox. Since Aug. 28, Boston has lost 24 out of 31 games.
"You know what? The positive note is you have a lot of guys up here who don't have a lot of experience and they're getting experience right now," said catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia. "That's the positive note. We haven't really played good baseball, but that doesn't stop us. We have to continue to go out there and play hard. We have two more left. Finish on a positive note and just focus on every pitch."
Facing a Sox lineup that featured six players who opened the season at Triple-A, CC Sabathia cruised to his 15th victory. The lefty allowed four hits and two runs over eight innings, walking one and striking out seven.
"He had a real good changeup," said Valentine. "He kept throwing it and we weren't on it very often. He's a great pitcher."
The second-inning barrage began when Robinson Cano led off with a prodigious solo homer over the wall in center. By the time it was over, a blowout was in full motion. After the Cano blast, Buchholz got his only out of the inning, striking out Mark Teixeira. From there, it was a wave of lasers.
Nick Swisher singled. Curtis Granderson belted a two-run homer. Then it was Russell Martin joining in the fun, ripping one to right-center that a fan corralled. Though the homer was reviewed, replays clearly showed the ball cleared the wall before it was touched.
Buchholz then walked Eric Chavez and Derek Jeter before giving up a single to Ichiro Suzuki that loaded the bases with one out. Alex Rodriguez belted a sacrifice fly to bring another run home. When the inning came full circle to Cano, he roped a two-run double, and that was all for Buchholz.
Alfredo Aceves came on and was greeted by a two-run homer by Teixeira, capping the damage in the inning.
"That was huge," said Teixeira. "Anytime you have CC on the mound you just want to give him a nice little lead, because he's going to take care of the rest. For us to get nine, that just doesn't happen. You don't see that very often. It took the pressure off the rest of the game."
With a big lead, Sabathia put it in cruise control, and the Red Sox didn't have many answers. Daniel Nava led off the fourth with a solo homer, his sixth of the season. Saltalamacchia made it a 9-2 game with a sac fly in the seventh.